Imagine feeding our motorcycles junk food: substandard oil, fuel or brake fluid. Most of us don’t do that. We give our motorcycles the highest quality ingredients possible and are rewarded with performance, safety, reliability and longevity. Yet when it comes to our spirit, we feed it junk food and expect high performance.
Unlike a motorcycle, human beings don’t come with an owner’s manual that specifies the grade, weight and designation of vital ingredients. We have to rely on our own judgment.
And therein lies the problem. We don’t always recognize junk food.
9 sources of junk food for the soul – and healthy alternatives
- Movies, books, music, video games, television. Anything with content containing violence, horror, hatred, intolerance and the like falls into this category. Although it’s disguised as entertainment, how can any good come of violence and hatred? Instead, watch TV and movies, read books, listen to music that is motivational, respectful, humorous, educational or offers constructive advice. Anything that increases positive energy, contributes to making a positive difference.
- People. Those who consistently complain, gossip, criticize, who are opinionated and intolerant — are toxic. Sure everyone has moments, but I want to surround myself with the kind of person who has qualities I want, who sees the good in others and reinforces kindness.
- Intentions. Acting or speaking from a place of fear, guilt or self-interest is immediately transparent. Acting from a place of love, gratitude and service encourages others to do the same.
- Diet. For eons, cultures have been aware of the effects of food on our mind, body and spirit. Today, we ingest food that is highly processed, engineered, preserved and filled with chemicals – so much so that our body barely recognizes it as food. Living primarily on a diet that is nutritious, balanced, predominantly vegetables, organic and raw as much as possible promotes health and longevity. Our body houses our spirit so we owe it to ourselves to create as hospitable an environment as possible.
- Pain killers. Inappropriate use of drugs and alcohol only dull the pain, the mind and our spirit.Painful as some experiences are, they contain lessons for us to learn. The best way to ease the pain is to be kind to yourself, take time to understand its cause, deal with it and keep moving.
- Worry, guilt, anger, blame. All of these emotions originate from fear and create resistance to spiritual growth. They generate clutter, stress, anxiety and cause us to do silly things, which in turn drain our energy. While we all feel them, giving these emotions power make things much more difficult than they need to be and prevent us from progressing. Acknowledging their existence, thanking them for trying to protect us and then parking them is a much healthier alternative.
- Control. There’s an adage that there are two plans for each day: our plans and the Universe’s plans. They’re not always the same. Much as we think we’re in control of our life, there’s a power far greater than us at work. We all have free choice to make the decisions we think are best for us.but must have trust, faith and confidence that when things don’t go as we planned, they are still in our best interests.
- Inactivity, isolation. While time alone is healthy, we were not meant to live in isolation. We are social creatures and seek like-minded spirits. When we find our tribe, we discover a common bond from which we not only derive strength as individuals but also gather that strength to increase the cohesiveness of the community as a whole. Socializing, exercising, laughing and playing all nourish the inner child which remains in each of us!
- Rushing through life. This is hard to avoid in our western lifestyle. There are so many demands on our time, energy and resources, not the least of which are the demands we place on ourselves. We lose sight of who and what’s important and where our actions are taking us. Instead, set aside quiet time each day to meditate, practice yoga or just be. Even a few minutes is better than nothing and helps us maintain balance, stay grounded and allows space for creative expression.
Making wise, informed decisions on who or what we allow into or on our body, or into our mind keeps us vibrant, dynamic and beautiful. Inside and out!